Sacramento, CA – Senate Bills 2 and 368, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), passed the Senate Public Safety Committee .
SB 2, sponsored by Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta, would implement significant improvements to California’s existing conceal-carry weapon (CCW) laws. SB 368 is a commonsense gun safety effort that would expand and strengthen firearm ownership prohibition laws and create additional responsibilities for commercial gun stores.
In an effort to strengthen California’s conceal carry permitting laws, Senator Portantino authored SB 2. The Attorney General, Governor, and Senator partnered to create California’s response to the recent Supreme Court ruling that made it easier for citizens to acquire these permits.
“We are faced with the continued threat of mass shootings and a gun violence epidemic – and it’s critical that California leads on the issue of gun safety and reform without wasting another minute,” stated Senator Portantino. “I am proud to be working with Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta and activists on SB 2 to strengthen our existing concealed carry laws and ensure every Californian is safe from gun violence.”
“Only in America do we see this level of carnage and chaos of gun violence that destroys our communities and our sense of safety and belonging, including the horrific events at a school in Tennessee just yesterday,” said Governor Newsom. “In California, we’re solving for a pattern and it’s working, we’re saving lives. California has a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average. But we have more work to do, and getting Senate Bill 2 on my desk is part of this effort to save lives, protect our communities, and make our state safer.”
“The fact is, individuals who are not law-abiding, responsible citizens simply shouldn’t possess firearms — and they especially shouldn’t be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public,” said Attorney General Bonta. “When a gun is placed in the wrong hands, it is deadly. The Second Amendment is not a regulatory straightjacket — we must protect our communities. Thoughts and prayers are not enough, we need brave and immediate action by our leaders – here in California and beyond. We owe our community stronger protections. I urge our state leaders to quickly adopt SB 2. We can’t afford to wait even one minute more.”
Specifically, SB 2 strengthens state law by:
- Ensuring those carrying firearms in public are responsible, law-abiding citizens who do not pose a danger to themselves or others
- Protecting children and young adults from gun violence by setting a minimum age requirement of 21 years of age to obtain a CCW license
- Advancing safety through stronger storage and training requirements on the proper handling, loading, unloading, and storage of firearms; limiting all CCW licensees to carrying no more than two firearms at any given time in public
- Safeguarding the public by identifying certain sensitive public places where guns may not be carried
- Including due process protections to allow anyone denied a CCW license based on a finding that they are not qualified to carry firearms in public to a hearing before a superior court judge
“California is an example of the changing narrative around gun violence and how gun safety laws work. This bill seeks to save lives and renew our state’s commitment to being a national leader in the fight against gun violence,” said Lisa Henry, volunteer with Moms Demand Action in California. “We are proud to stand with our gun sense champions today who are advancing this key legislation to protect our communities after SCOTUS put them at risk with their reckless decision in Bruen.”
“We applaud Senator Portantino’s leadership in championing Senate Bill 2, which updates and improves California’s already strong concealed carry license system and ensures that loaded and concealed weapons are not allowed in certain sensitive places,” Brady President Kris Brown. “The Supreme Court’s dangerous decision in the Bruen case has made it even more critical for states like California to take meaningful action to protect its citizens and its communities from the threat of gun violence. With SB 2, California continues to set an example for the rest of the country in prioritizing public health and safety. Today’s passage in the Senate Public Safety Committee marks a significant step forward, and we urge the California Legislature to pass it without delay.”
“Communities across the US were already grappling with record spikes in gun sales and gun violence, even before a 2022 US Supreme Court ruling threatened to introduce a new flood of weapons in sensitive community spaces like parks and playgrounds,” stated Ari Freilich, Giffords State Policy Director. “This threatens to turn more arguments and fistfights into shootouts and funerals. SB 2 is priority legislation because it will help California strengthen and standardize its processes and qualification standards for carrying deadly weapons in public and keep firearms out of especially sensitive community spaces across the state, including parks, playgrounds, libraries, sports stadiums, hospitals, and concert arenas. It’s the right and balanced thing to do for public safety.”
Currently, licensed retailers and law enforcement agencies are not required to accept and store firearms during a mental health crisis. There are also certain firearm misdemeanors that do not currently fall under the 10-year prohibition of firearms category and the Department of Justice does not have a process for evaluating individuals who may or may not need an extension of a 10-year gun prohibition. In addition, many gun stores try to attract new customers by holding “opportunity drawing,” or raffles, for various firearms accessories..
“It is our moral obligation to enact comprehensive firearm reform policies,” stated Senator Portantino. “Data tells us that households with firearms have a higher risk of suicide and accidental firearm injuries. There is also no current review process for people coming off the prohibited gun owner list. Only bad things happen when a gun falls into the wrong hands or wrong place. Additionally, there are many offenses that make a person incapable of safely owning a gun. In concert, an easier path to gun storage and thorough risk assessment will make California safter.”
SB 368 would:
- Require a licensed firearms dealer to accept the storage of a firearm transferred by an individual to prevent an attempted suicide; licensed retailers may also store firearms for other lawful reasons outside of mental health crises;
- Prohibits a licensed firearms dealer from offering an opportunity to win an item of inventory in a raffle and would except from this prohibition nonprofit organizations under certain circumstances;
- Adds a number of misdemeanor offenses for which a conviction results in a 10-year prohibition on possession of a firearm;
- Requires the Department of Justice to create an evaluation process to determine whether an extension of a 10-year prohibition is warranted, as well as provide notice and opportunity to be heard to the person, and establish a process for the person to appeal any extension of the prohibition instituted by the department.
“Suicides make up three in every five gun deaths in the U.S. and suicide by firearm is almost always deadly – 9 out of 10 firearm suicide attempts result in death. SB 368 is a much needed strategy to help prevent suicide and save lives,” stated Margot Bennett, Executive Director of Women Against Gun Violence.
Senator Portantino has long been a champion of common sense gun reform policies. During his time in the Assembly, he successfully banned the open carry of handguns and rifles in California and as Senator, he raised the firearm purchase age in California to twenty-one. The Senator has authored legislation related to firearms storage and gun purchase safeguards, as well as a legislation that reduces the number of firearms an unlicensed individual is annually able to sell and the frequency with which they are able to sell. Most recently, he authored legislation aimed at preventing tragic schools shootings and a major gun reform measure that offers a new tool to combat the rise in gun violence and save lives – a private right of action.